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  Monday, 3 June, 2002, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Hansie Cronje
Former South Africa cricket captain Hansie Cronje died in a plane crash on Saturday 1 June.

BBC Sport's Marcus Prior answers your e-mails on Hansie Cronje.


Hansie Cronje was earmarked as a future South Africa captain from his first appearance in international cricket in 1991.

His reputation was among the finest in cricket until allegations of match-fixing began to spread in April 2000.

Will you remember Cronje for his 3,714 runs in 68 Test appearances - or for the manner of his fall?


Clarence Walker, USA

Despite his fall from grace, Hansie will always be the best captain to lead South Africa and one of the best all-rounders produced by South Africa. That is how I will remember him.

There is very little doubt about that. He is the best captain South Africa ever had. They had a fantastic winning record under him, and the only team that regularly undermined South Africa's supremacy was Australia, but that's been the case for any other side playing international cricket over the last few years.

He was a magnificent batsman. He had the ability to take on just about any attack with a great eye and play it to all parts of the ground. He also had the ability as a bowler to break partnerships and to swing the ball late. As a captain he was a great competitor and a strategist. He helped to put South African cricket on the map.


Neville, Australia

He'll be remembered for selling the integrity of a great game for the sake of a few dollars.

Hansie Cronje himself said two years ago that he had "an unfortunate love of money". He was a great public figure who had one major personal flaw. He recognised that and, having been exposed as a corrupt cricketer, he understood that this love of money had brought about his downfall.

There are many reasons why he got involved to the extent that he did with cricket's corrupt match fixers. All I would say is that it was probably an early dalliance which he didn't think much about, and this led to a greater involvement which he could hardly evade later on in his cricketing life.

It is very sad that someone like him was sucked so far into such illicit and corrupt activities, but certainly he was a great cricketer and a great captain. It is a great shame, and his early death has brought about the reality that, without reconciliation over time, this is unfortunately what he will be remembered for.

There are many people in South Africa in particular who believe that he should be remembered for more human reasons than that.


Ben Parkyn, England

People should not focus on his wrong-doings, but on the reasons behind them. Why would a successful captain of a country feel the need to resort to accepting money to potentially lose a game? For someone with such ability and strong religious beliefs it must have been a hard decision to make. So why did he do it?

As someone who sat through the entire King Commission and Cronje's subsequent appeal to have his life ban from cricket overturned, what became very clear is the way in which the bookmakers and illegal gamblers around cricket get involved in the game is to approach those who can best influence the outcome of cricket matches.

Cronje was a captain of a successful side, and from 1996 there were people hovering around the South Africa camp trying to get under his skin. Unfortunately for Hansie Cronje, he took part in that game from an early stage, as was clear from the King Commission.

Once involved and once under the influence of these very powerful individuals it was difficult for him to totally distance himself from them. He was held in their sway and never found a way out of that. That was ultimately to prove his downfall.


Harry Spencer, Sri Lanka

Do you think he allowed himself to become a scapegoat for the sins of a much larger network of shadowy bookmakers and other prominent cricketers who continue to enjoy celebrity status?

I'm not sure if it's a question of allowed himself or just was, but certainly Salim Malik is fighting his case in the High Court, and Mohammed Azharuddin has suffered similarly, but less high profile internationally as far as exposure is concerned.

There is little doubt that Cronje felt very harshly done by. He was very aware of what was going on in international cricket for quite some time as far as the bookmakers were concerned. He was probably one of the last with his hand in the cookie jar but almost certainly the first to have his hand smacked.

Those who supported him found it hard to understand his attempt to have his life ban overturned, and they felt that a better course of action would be to accept his fate and get on with his life.

They would certainly feel that he had been harshly dealt with because there were many other cricketers who, without doubt, had been involved in illicit activities, as far as goings on on the cricket field itself are concerned, but were never truly exposed to the same level that he was.


Simon, Wales

Is there a sense of guilt among ordinary South Africans over the way Cronje was left in the wilderness after admitting to match fixing?

I think the community is fairly split on Hansie. We have come together in this moment of his tragic death.

There is a level of regret amongst certain people who have been very strident in their criticism that this man should have died so early without having had the opportunity to really seek reconciliation and make up with the people who stood so strongly against him.

There is also a community in South Africa who have always supported Hansie Cronje and always felt he was harshly dealt by because there were so many people involved in corrupt activities in cricket on an international level.

But it's a difficult question because at the moment most people think it's very unfair to talk in any other terms other than to pay respects to someone who was a great cricketer, was a great cricket captain and who contributed enormously to the game on the field of play, but also ultimately undermined a lot of what cricketers seek to achieve.

I think that will be his lasting legacy: as someone who created the opportunity for cricket to re-examine itself and to really work out whether every single game of cricket was being played in a transparent way and, as unfortunate as that may be, Hansie Cronje may have done the game a favour in that sense.


Anhil Mahibir, Trinidad

How you would rate Cronje as a cricketing brain?

Well, I was in Trinidad almost this time last year when SA were playing a Test match and later a one-day game, and although SA did pretty well on both occasions they could have done a lot better with Hansie Cronje at the helm.

There's no doubt that, along with Bob Woolmer, he was a fundamental element of SA's success. You look at what has happened since his departure from the international scene. He was a man who demanded the utmost in standards, in fitness in particular, from his side.

He would be the kind of cricketer who would run home from a Test match ground to the team hotel whether it was two, five or ten miles from the ground, even after he'd been in the field all day. He was an absolutely, passionately committed sportsman and cricketer.

Much of the accusations levelled at the SA side since his demise is that they are no longer the ambitious, driven side they were under him.

Certainly he was very tactically astute: he'd captained teams all the way through from school right up the full international level.

Certainly SA would still be an enormous power at international level if he were still around because he died at the age of 32, which as far is international cricket captains are concerned is relatively young. You would have thought he would have had three or four years to go.


Greg Hood, SA

I'll remember Hansie for the magnificent contribution he made in helping to put SA almost at the top of the cricketing rankings and for making the team one of the most competitive on the world stage. For South Africans he will always be our Hansie.

I think there is a major split in opinion between SA cricket fans and cricket fans in much of the rest if the world. In SA, to a large extent, Hansie could do no wrong and many people felt he was very harshly done by.

If you listen to the likes of Ian Botham at the weekend who said that Hansie would always be remembered as a match fixer and a cheat.

If you saw the fact that neither England nor Sri Lanka felt compelled to wear black armbands the day following Hansie's death.

If any other young international cricketer of recent vintage had died in tragic circumstances there is no doubt the black armbands would have been on straight away.

Certainly South Africans feel that Cronje was judged harshly as far as the behaviour of other cricketers who remain unnamed were concerned, as far as their dealings with bookmakers were concerned.

That's something that South Africans are having to deal with for themselves because the country is stuck away at the southern end of the African continent a long way from the rest of the cricketing world, Zimbabwe apart.

It's very difficult for South Africans to come to terms with the fact that Hansie could still be perceived in such a negative light in the rest of the cricketing world while he is perceived as a positive role model within South African sports circles.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Marcus Prior
Answers your e-mails

Cronje dies

The aftermath

Cronje profile

SPORTS TALK

IN PICTURES

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